Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Mad as Hell and the Rant that Proves it

Ok I know I missed out on yesterday's recipe post for this week, and at this stage it doesn't look like I'll get a life hacks out today, especially given that it's now Wednesday morning, but I have had to take a break from my computer since yesterday otherwise it would have ended up out the window. 

The sad thing is it wouldn't have been the computer's fault that it was thrown out of the window. Despite the BSOD* that keeps happening with alarming regularity these days, the reason for my anger wasn't in the computer itself, but in an article I read. One of the bloggers I have read ever since I was introduced to the wonderful wide world of blogging a year ago, Corrie from Retro Mummy, was featured this week on the website Essential Baby. The article was about the rise of the "retro housewife" and despite the fact that it was written by a woman, was so full of misogynistic crap, I saw red. I popped over to Retro Mummy's website to see what she had to say about the article, and saw a completely different side to her story than what the original article wanted me to see.

The article painted a very pretty picture of Corrie as a Stepford wife, complete with "a patchwork skirt and bare feet" (really? did she have to be barefoot? the only thing that would have made that worse was if she was pregnant at the time and holding her youngest baby on her hip. Now that I think about it, Corrie has put photos up from the photo shoot that accompanied the article, and in each picture she has displayed, she is very clearly wearing shoes. What the hell was this writer trying to do?) They described the rustic dining room table, complete with a vase of Irises, and a delicious cake cooling (on the windowsill I'm assuming.)  They contrasted this scene of domestic bliss against her former life as a credit analyst playing with the big boys, almost with a sense of regret that she had stooped so low as to give up a high profile job to play at mummies and daddies. There were several similar stories of other Stepford wives, complete with herb gardens and bee hives and complete happiness, but no real sense of the women behind the facade.

Corrie tells a sadder story than the blissful scene that the "journalist" stumbled upon the day she arrived, telling how she had chosen to turn her back on the corporate world for the sake of her children because her mother had been unable to do the same. Corrie was a latch key kid who spent her afternoons watching children's television while her mother was off earning a buck. She refused to put her children through the childhood she had lived through, and wanted to make sure that when they came home, there was an adult there to care for them, listen to them and be a parent to them. Why that never made it into the article I will never understand, but apparently that doesn't make for interesting reading for some people because it's not even hinted at in the Retro Housewife. 

Now for any of you who haven't read the article yet, you're probably wondering why I'm so angry at a superficial article describing pretty people playing with pretty things. Well that is because the article then did a full 180, pulling out the big guns of a group of angry feminists, shaking their fists at these women deliberately choosing to stay at home and raise their families, and blaming them for the decline in working mothers in the workforce. One woman in particular is angry that the very generation after the first feminists started fighting for "the right for married women to keep their jobs, to have equal access to promotion, and to be paid the same as men, scores of women are walking away and saying, 'We'd rather be Mummies" Well the last time I looked, women still weren't getting equal access to promotion, or equal pay. Is she seriously surprised that mums are starting to re-evaluate their priorities? That they have started to decide we don't want to be super mums, some of us are happy simply with the title mum.

The term Super Mum has been thrown around a lot over the years, and the image that it conjures up is of the working mother. She gets up at 5, makes sure her kids are fed, dressed immaculately and then ferried off to their excellent school in the latest model Range Rover. Then she schleps across the city to her job, works her butt into the ground for 8 hours, then gets home, cooks dinner, does the dishes, does the laundry, mops the floor, makes tomorrow's lunches, and then probably pleasures the husband before collapsing into a coma for 5 hours. The problem with this image is I don't personally know anyone who could sustain it for more than a week before she needed to be institutionalised. I know we women are strong, but I don't think even Superman would be able to cram that much into his day. (Especially with working 2 jobs, one of them including facing death every single day.) 

The problem with the super mum is that the title assumes that the mother has to do everything. It doesn't say anywhere in the title that she gets help from the family with anything. So a lot of women are putting themselves under extreme pressure just to live up to an incredibly unrealistic and dangerous image. Hell I'm a stay at home mum, and even I can't muster up the energy to do absolutely everything that needs to be done in a day. So the fact that women are starting to realise that we can't do everything and we need to simplify our lives is of absolutely no surprise to me at all.  

But apparently I seem to be different to the feminists because they are surprised. And they are angry. They call this move to more traditional roles "self sabotage" and say it "cements gender stereotypes". They also say it suggests a "downturn in ambition in women", as if being a mother is a completely unambitious pursuit. Rubbish! You want to make sure that your children turn out to be the best versions of themselves, then you have to be damn ambitious, because raising children is not for the weak hearted. 

Then the feminists turn around and pull the same man hating stunts they have been pulling for years and start saying that maybe men need to stay at home more. Men need to be the home makers while the women go out and get jobs. Well I don't know about any of you, but every man I have ever dated has been a terrible housekeeper, and I would feel better leaving the running of MY house to a pack of wild chimps than any man. (This of course does not apply to my little brother who is the best stay at home dad I know, and his house is always spotless.) Women are by default the home makers because they are the ones that are able to look at a room and see absolutely everything that needs to be done. Maybe not all today, but it will get done. We have the ability to write lists in our heads and we have internal calendars and the ability to memorise a shopping list to the point where we can do the grocery shopping in our sleep. Now these skills may not seem important to you, and you may think they would be absolutely useless in the working world, but they translate there too. Which is why women are as great in the working world as they are at home.

Now I'm doing the 180 I hear you say. But I'm not, and that brings me to the thing that makes me angriest of all. These feminists, these women who feel that they know everything about gender equality and what women are meant to want have forgotten the fundamental fact behind feminism. When the feminist movement was started, it was meant to be about CHOICE. Women wanted to be able to choose whether they wanted to go out to work or stay at home. Women wanted to be able to choose what happened to their bodies, women wanted to be able to choose where their futures lay. And as far as I'm concerned these women aren't anti-feminists, because they are choosing to stay at home and be housewives and mums. 

Now despite my anger at the women featured in this article, I'm not anti-feminist. I am glad that the feminist movement happened, because thanks to the pioneering women who started it all I am free to take birth control. If I ever wanted an abortion (which I don't) I am able to go to a safe and clean hospital instead of a back alley butcher. I have been allowed to be a single mother whereas once upon a time my daughter would have been taken away from me and I probably would have been shipped off to a mental institution or a convent. I am free to work if I want to, or stay at home and take care of my daughter if I so desire. These women were brave, and ambitious and not afraid to say "Give me what I want or I will raise hell to get it" and I thank them for their bravery. But to have their message warped to suit the feminists of today makes me mad as hell. This is not what they wanted. They didn't want women drawing a line in the sand and saying this side is the right side and that side is the ignorant and wrong side. But thanks to the Neo-feminists of today, that is exactly what is happening, and I think it sucks.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Pictured: what the feminists want us all to look like


Well that is my rant for today, I would love to hear what you guys think, even if you disagree with me completely. Don't be afraid to pipe up with your two cents, but I ask as always that you leave any name calling at the door. Hopefully I'll be able to resume my normal "unambitious" writing tomorrow, but for now I'm off to bed. Stay awesome people.

*Blue Screen of Death AKA the worst thing you want to see appear on your computer screen ever.
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